In this follow up to my last post, 8 Warning Signs a Company is Heading Into Decline, we’ll explore the different options to innovate grow while remaining dynamic in changing landscapes.
The best defence to fight decline or mediocre results is the same offence you first applied on launch: create and implement a number of multi-channel marketing strategies, execute consistently, and see what drives growth.
Recently, one of my clients was being held back by dated branding and a lack of digital presence. Their company needed a serious marketing makeover and it was costing financially by way of a lack of results. Though initially resistant to making some very necessary changes, both this client’s employees and colleagues encouraged him to take the leap and embrace a new brand identity. We also updated his website design to reflect its premium offering.
At the same time, it was decided to drop a longtime ad that wasn’t working, get on social media and reinvested the marketing budget into Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads. The industry took notice. Soon after implementing these changes, my client had to hire more employees to keep up with the increased demand.
Nothing is more detrimental to an organization than a lack of execution or staying on a path that is no longer working. A little reinvention in your marketing strategy and tactics can be the keys to unlocking new opportunities for growth.
Is it Time to Implement a New Approach?
Businesses should be evaluating the effectiveness of their strategic marketing plan at a minimum of twice a year, at the start and mid-way through. Aim to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. You should conduct your review once you have invested some time into the process and measured the results.
If everyone that clicked on a Facebook ad converted into a customer, we could spend all our money on that channel and be done with it. Most businesses already know that’s not the case, so it’s important both to measure current approaches and to also try new tactics. An expert marketer has the know-how to recommend what tools have worked for other businesses in your sector.
If you’re ready to grow to new heights, consider implementing some of these tactics to your overall marketing strategy. When executed consistently, results will compound over time. Below are some tactics to consider as a part of your overall strategic vision for growth.
Create a Digital Marketing Plan
Growing a digital presence doesn’t happen overnight. Improving the performance of your website and growing your social media channels takes time and an ongoing commitment. Gone are the days you can do this organically without regularly publishing content or growing traffic through incorporating paid ads. Start by publishing a blog post at least once a month, setting an advertising budget and sharing content on your social channels multiple times a week. Prospects are watching and using your content to evaluate your offering.
Digital strategies need to be custom to each business and industry. Whether you want to introduce a new marketing automation tool to implement email campaigns, produce an e-book to educate your customers or start hosting virtual events to drive conversions, you need to make a plan that works specifically for your business. There is no one-size-fits-all.
Leverage Paid Advertising to Grow Traffic and Conversions
Facebook and Google dominate search traffic. Advertising is a key avenue and one of today’s requirements to grow traffic to your website and connect with your target audience. Both advertising conglomerates are actively using artificial intelligence to help you learn who will become a customer and when that “conversion” is most likely to happen. For example, sending the right audience to a specific landing page to accept a special offer. One click doesn’t lead to a conversion immediately in most cases, but now they know about you. Introduce “remarketing“ to your advertising strategy and reconnect with those that have already visited your website already. Create new content on your website to engage them when they come back. Examples include a new blog post to help educate them on their buying decision or a captivating homepage feature that can be great ways to remain fresh and relevant.
Blog and Produce Social Content Regularly
Today’s buyers are more educated than ever, they expect to learn something from you before they will reach out to engage or commit to becoming a customer. You know what car you want before you step foot in a dealership. For these reasons, inbound marketing is driven by a value exchange and your content is now a part of your sales strategy and process. Blogging is also very important to overall website health and tells search engines to crawl your site again. Share blogs and other relevant content soundbites on social channels to engage your prospects and attract a new audience to nurture and convert. Curate content from high-ranking websites to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) and influence your audience with thought leadership. Get your team to share blogs and relevant thought leadership content on their personal LinkedIn profiles to increase reach and visibility for your value proposition.
Update and Optimize Your Website
When was the last time you took a major inventory of your website? Is your traffic growing? Are your conversions increasing year-over-year or do you have no idea? A lot of businesses don’t. Knowing whether your website is currently working for you or not should dictate how much focus you put into refreshing your offer and optimizing with assets and calls-to-action forms to drive the conversions needed to grow new relationships with your brand.
Conversion examples could include a complimentary strategy session assessment or a new e-book that helps prospects buy from you. Ensure you have metadata and keywords configured on each page and are properly indexing in the Google console.
Focus on improvements to your website and watch your engagement soar to new heights. Try changing your messaging and refreshing your design. That can include everything from a simple image swap to changing the structural layout of your site to be more mobile user friendly.
Set up Goals in Google Analytics to Track and Compare Performance
A lot of business leaders still do not know how to monitor and analyze the effectiveness of their website in Google Analytics. Learn some basic reporting to make informed decisions about where to focus your energy and resources. If you don’t know how to do this, set up some time with me to train you and your team on how to understand your analytics so you can make decisions based on these measured insights.
Monitor popular pages and posts in your user behaviour reports, analyze your traffic sources and examine your bounce rate to see if you are engaging with the right traffic. See how users from paid advertising engage on your website. Do they stick around and view multiple pages or bounce right away? This information helps you know where to invest.
If your bounce rate is over 60% you have the wrong traffic coming to your website or your message doesn’t resonate with who you are targeting. It is an indicator that adjustments need to be made to your homepage or you have the wrong traffic coming to your site. Either way, you need to get this number down.
Setting up some basic goals around contact form submits, asset downloads and newsletter sign-up forms will allow you to track performance year-over-year and monitor your progress and the impact of your assets. The goals will also indicate the origins of the users who did engage, insights that most marketing automation tools are still unable to reveal at this time. Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool to use. Utilize the insights in your planning.
Plan and Activate Email Marketing Campaigns
Email marketing is one of the best returns on investments out there. Regular communication with both your prospects and your existing customer base keeps them engaged and your business top-of-mind. Marketing automation tools deliver powerful capabilities to engage and learn more about an audience and the ideal times to serve content based on past performance.
Email marketing allows you to nurture and grow relationships at scale through engaging content. One of my clients has leveraged email marketing as a core strategy for over six years. We’ve maintained an open rate of between 30-40% and consistently have prospects reach out after campaign sends. There’s an ongoing focus to grow their list and regularly send entertaining and educational content to make readers become informed buyers. Their business sales cycle can last anywhere from six months to three years, and email marketing is a regular touchpoint for customers until they are ready to act. These campaigns complement the efforts of direct sales outreach and add the necessary additional touchpoints required on today’s customer conversion journey.
Update Your Database with New Leads
Growing your list is important to fight against “churn”, which is the industry term for unsubscribes and lost sales opportunities that happen throughout the year. Guides, e-books and live events complemented with paid ads will help you grow your list throughout the year with new contacts. You want a good list that will convert leads into opportunities. It is also important to keep a clean list in your database. Periodically flushing out old stale contacts that are not opening messages once or twice a year will improve your email deliverability reputation.
Social Selling is Here to Stay
Are your team’s skills up to date when it comes to social selling? Social media has changed how we meet and connect with prospects today. Gone are the days when sending an email or making a cold call is enough.
Today’s consumers require multiple touchpoints and value exchanges before they want to hear your message or talk to you. You may need to upgrade your teams’ social selling skills to be comfortable reaching out to key decision-makers on social media or perhaps it’s time to invest in tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator to improve direct outreach effectiveness. Have you adapted your sales strategy to account for these new ways of engaging with prospects?
Discover New Revenue Streams
Maybe it’s time to chart a new path with your offer and focus on exploring new revenue streams, industries or markets. Is there a new audience or industry that you could be pursuing? As an example, I have switched to a monthly Office 365 subscription versus paying for a license for each computer in my business. Can you package your offer differently to make it more appealing? Make a plan and assign the resources to test for new opportunities.
Develop New Partnerships or Work with Influencers
Whether you can “white label” your solution so another organization can sell your offer or work with “micro-influencers” (social media influencers typically with small but loyal followings) to promote yours, you can access a lot of leverage through partnerships. For example, maybe you can incorporate your software into another product to provide additional value to other vendors’ customers. Influencers with an established audience in your target market can promote you to drive sales in a leveraged way, similarly to a celebrity spokesperson.
In reality, it is easy for partnerships to go nowhere without some expectations and contingencies baked into the contract. A lot of ongoing relationship building is also critical to ensure the arrangement is effective at generating results.
Participate in Events and Conferences
Depending on your industry, key decision-makers may regularly meet in large groups at industry-specific events that you should be a part of for critical networking and sales opportunities. Compare the time and effort in resources it will take for sales professionals to travel to each location in person and weigh it against them all being in the same room. Grow your brand awareness, contacts and sales opportunities through participating in industry-related events. Plan outreach campaigns around attending them in person for the best results.
Speak at Industry Events, be a Guest or Start a Podcast
Sharing your message with an audience is an impactful way to sell at scale and leverage your time. Whether it is a local chamber of commerce event, a targeted room of executives or a virtual webinar, speaking allows you to sell to many at the same time. Podcasts have become popular vehicles to share your message and grow your brand awareness online. If you have a productive offer, this is one of the best vehicles to scale the growth of your business.
Rebrand — Is It Time for a Makeover?
All businesses need to periodically refresh to stay relevant and communicate the evolution of their business. Your logo and website are your first impression and set the tone for your business. Dated branding turns people off in seconds. Keeping your image and content fresh is critical to attracting the right prospects and partners over your competitors. If you think your brand identity may be starting to age, it is probably time to focus here. Never underestimate the power of a rebrand to open new doors and opportunities as it did for my client. It is known to impact the morale of teams positively too.
Nothing holds back the growth of businesses more than a lack of consistent execution or continuing on in the wrong direction. Knowing what needs to be done and then not doing it. Is it time for your organization to have a strategic refresh?
If you are done holding yourself back and want to explore creating a strategy and outsourcing some of these pieces so you aren’t leaving opportunities on the table, contact us to arrange a consultation to chat in more detail.